Regnat Horrendum – Heathenland (2018) REVIEW

This side-project of the “Russian version of Summoning” a.k.a. Moongates Guardian is not only far more listenable symphonic black metal but it has all the campy keyboarding and growling of an early Old Man’s Child record. I realize that isn’t a huge selling point, okay. Symphonic pagan black metal from Russia should sound terrible all things considered but ‘Heathenland’ has the sort of post-Dimmu sense of melody that is more akin to jaunty, prancing stuff like Thyrfing and similar melodic viking metal that featured heavy use of keyboards for melodic direction. In fact songs like “Halls of Chernobog” have more in common with ‘Rubicon’-era Ancient Rites than anything else with their pompous honking and pop-punk… *erhhm* meloblack guitar riffs.

Listening to ‘Heathenland’ over the past two weeks has been both frustrating and nostalgic as I remember the sheer amount of time I’ve spent listening to bands like Thyrfing, Moonsorrow and Falkenbach while also wishing Regnat Horrendum spent a big less time filling their songs with throwaway black metal riffing that only serves to carry the tune between keyboard-lead sections. The lyrics are thankfully devoid of the overwrought The Lord of the Rings references of Moongates Guardian instead opting for an epic of Slavic duality in a tale that is perhaps weighed towards Chernobog.

For my own tastes in symphonic black metal, be it viking or folk or whatever the hell, Regnat Horrendum gets enough right that it was worth listening to for a couple of weeks. The programmed drums aren’t entirely noticeable until the second half of the album works in more ambient keyboards but the songs driven by prominent keyboard leads are memorable and ‘fun’. Well worth a spin online and a buy if you’re even more inclined towards this Dungeons & Dragons assed 90’s symphonic black metal stuff. At the very least try the duo of “Halls of Chernobog” and “Before Belobog” as they were the standouts for me.

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Artist Regnat Horrendum
Type Album
Released January 1, 2018
BUY/LISTEN on their Bandcamp! Follow Regnat Horrendum on Facebook
Genres

Belobog in the streets, chernobog in the sheets. 3.25/5.0

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